Start with the User
It’s obvious user experience is important, and keeping users happy means creating experiences that are fast, easy to use, and reliable. After all, you don’t just want people to visit your site once, you want to keep them coming back for more. This means being proactive about the user experience by incorporating automated monitoring solutions.
Traditionally, the majority of the IT monitoring money budget has been spent on monitoring the bottom of the technology stack (i.e., infrastructure) with most server monitoring solutions focusing on application uptime and hardware performance such as transaction logs and storage. While uptime is absolutely important, this type of monitoring, known as back-end monitoring, doesn’t allow for evaluating the true quality of services being delivered to users. Business and IT stakeholders say they get the majority of the value (around 80%) from the end-user monitoring data they collect.
Furthermore, as companies begin to rely more and more on third-party hosting providers and content pulled from decentralized sources, it makes less sense to devote budgetary resources to monitor only server and network functions. Finally, as the price for quality servers and network hardware falls, the likelihood that infrastructure is the bottleneck also decreases.
As users demand more and more from sites, the complexity of the systems used to deliver content has expanded. Gone are the days of hosting a static site from a central server, with a simple shopping cart or a few news articles. The demand from today’s users requires a lot of moving parts and just monitoring the infrastructure won’t cover it.
What’s a savvy technology business to do? Flip this traditional monitoring convention on its head: Reevaluate your technology stack by inverting the traditional method of monitoring. Start with a user-first approach to maximize attention on the biggest drivers of business – the user experience:
1. Start with the User First: Start by focusing on key performance indicators (KPIs) for user experience like time on site, SpeedIndex, and the conversion rates of critical business flows or call-to-actions.
2. Move on to Transactions: Monitor transactions between the application and the user and identify which transactions are causing issues with user satisfaction.
3. Turn Your Attention to the Application: Check for software bottlenecks or limiting third-party applications on the high traffic areas of your site.
4. Evaluate the Hardware: Finally, focus on infrastructure and hardware, including servers and networks for disk and CPU failures, security issues, network problems, etc.
Remember: Not All Users are Human
Gone are the days of colossal self-contained, stand-alone applications and singular business processes. Whereas once developers had to spend days and weeks writing functionality into an application, now they can quickly integrate functionality using a host of APIs (application programming interfaces) and microservices that enable them to create systems that are more flexible, modular, and easier to maintain.
Let’s not forget about the Internet of Things (IoT), where the end user might even be your refrigerator or your car. According to Statista, in 2012 the number of connected devices reached 8.7 billion, with numbers estimated to reach over 50 billion by 2020.